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Scout Restoration


Thankfully I have a very supportive wife, who also rides bikes, so when my hobby researching the Wall of Death and collecting the signatures of UK Riders on a petrol tank of a Triumph Bobber suddenly took a dramatic turn. She was not surprised when I was, at quite short notice, the owner of an Indian Scout. Foolishly I said the first thing it was going to need to get it running was a throttle cable, that turned out to be one of the last things.
Although it looked like it was a Bally Bike from a Wall of Death with its treadless tyres ( both buckled), badly welded handlebars and nearly every bearing requiring replacement, there was going to be a task ahead.

Like learning a new language. I was immersed in the restoration of this piece of history and every day learnt something new. Who would have thought 85 years on you could find a couple 6-32x1/4 bolts for the throtttle butterfly in, of all places, a modern computer hard drive. My carb was actually from a 1919 Excelsior but luckily I eventually found the right one for my model in deepest Finland and an air inlet cover on a dusty shelf in California. My clutch had 8 plates instead of 12 and two of those were made of plastic and were held in place by a roofing bolt. I decided the best thing to do with my handlebars was chop them up and start again, which I did and the result was so good I chromed them. The wheels were straightened and new spokes fitted but this was not to be a full restoration as I was going to try and keep the bike looking old and lived in. Where this proved hardest was with the petrol tank. It had to be split into its component parts then bead blasted inside and re-soldered. Managed to save some paint on the side panels though and lacquered the tank after the clean bits went rusty on the outside while internally I used Frosts Tank Sealant to prevent corrosion.

Indian Scout Head Wall of Death

Indian Scout

Alan Mercer

My seat was a commissioned nod to the Wall of Death and I had it made originally with springs but now rigid as Wall bikes should be and set back a little further than usual due to my height. Tyres are another issue as I have registered the bike for road use so Bridgestone Battlax are fitted front and rear.
Both number plate and horn can be removed in seconds to have it looking like a Wall Bike sat on its rollers when I display my memorabilia at shows.
There is an anomaly in the front forks which have been made slightly on one side which allows a little of the front tyre to be out of line with the rear so perhaps bits of this bike have seen a wall somewhere in Europe. The frame colour suggests Scandinavia but as yet no one has owned up to knowing its history. I have now managed, after only six months work, its first ride up the road, but sadly blew the head gasket a mile and half from home. The vibration dropped off the kickstart as well but I picked it up as I walked the bike home.

Not the best 1st ride you may think but the Indian Scout is a learning cliff especially if you have mainly been a metric biker all your life. Cannot stop smiling though and love every second of my Indian experience. Just waiting for head gaskets in the post and we will be off again.

Alan Mercer  Alan Mercer

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Indian Motocycles - you can't wear them out                                  Indian Motocycles - built to last  
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